Not ‘Out of Touch’ or ‘Out of Time’ – Daryl Hall & John Oates stun with a hit laden set of their classic soft rock anthems in Manchester
Words and Photos – John Hayhurst
Septuagenarian Rock needs to be a new genre, I’ve seen so many 70+ yr old artists in the last 12 months – still rocking and filling decent sized halls and arenas around the UK, tonight Hall & Oates are added to that list. Certainly, looking and still sounding like a band more than 20 years younger. The audience however are a complete mixture with some kids who have been clearly listening to their parent’s vinyl collection too much and then the said parents who seemed to need a toilet break every few songs – damn those ageing weak bladders. Seated venues are never my favourite as you don’t quite know at what point is it ok to stand and dance – the answer tonight is “whenever you feel like it”, and tonight we were on our feet for most of the show.
First up though, KT Tunstall who tore through a pleasantly long support set, with Black Horse and the Cherry Tree adding a little of Ram Jam’s Black Betty to the mix. Skipping around the stage she left no opportunity wasted to try and get this audience participating – “Get your phones in the air” she screamed before Other side of the World provided the first arms in the air moment of the night.
With a songbook that is the envy of a lot of bands, Daryl Hall & John Oates took to the stage to the immediately recognised opening strains of Maneater and when you follow that with Family Man you realise that you already know so many of these songs, and the whole show becomes this massive greatest hits set – exactly what the punters wanted for their £50+ tickets.
There is that awkward bit in the middle where we get the almost disco but not quite, Method of Modern Love and It’s a Laugh, but we all need a break and those times were well used by patrons needing liquid sustenance and then the inevitable toilet stop that followed.
With a great band behind them adding to that legendary harmony mix the songs just melted into a hazy memory of sugar coated 70’s soul. The Philly duo have transcended the decades, seen off glam rock, disco, punk, grunge and survived – they deserve this, and the songs are now reaching new younger ears in a live setting. Daryl Hall is still an enigmatic frontman and although John Oates has equal billing and does a brilliant version of Is It a Star, he says little to the crowd throughout the set, although he has a mean way of flicking pics to the front row fans. Between them, they obviously know each other’s part to be played in the evening set but apart from the odd nod of appreciation, it felt a bit frosty, almost like they have to hang with each other to complete the pairing, little real chemistry or affection on stage apart from those harmonies.
Daryl Hall can still just about hit those high notes, particularly the crescendo chorus in She’s Gone and then he delivered a stunningly beautiful slow grand piano led Sara Smile which prompted a few couples to get up and slow dance.
Plenty of sax supplied by Charles DeChant, he’s been in the band since 1976 and played on all their records, he took great delight in walking pink panther like in his gold jacket to the front of the stage whenever there was the opportunity. Also, to note some truly gifted guitar work by Shane Theriot and percussionist Porter Carroll Jr ensured we all clapped at the right times – especially during Private Eyes.
With a romp through Rich Girl, Kiss on My List, Private Eyes and You Make My Dreams as the encore, it was all over a little too quick, but better to have quality over quantity and I hope they don’t leave this all too long before they return to the UK.
Maneater / Family Man / Out of Touch / Say It Isn’t So / Method of Modern Love / It’s a Laugh / You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ / She’s Gone / Sara Smile / Is It a Star / I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) ENCORE: Rich Girl / Kiss on my List / Private Eyes / You Make My Dreams